Monday, April 23, 2012

Saving For Rainy Days

As Mr. Sun continues to cast its sweltering, glowing rays to the earth's surface, a parade of ants of different kinds are common sight in the garden. I thought the kids might be leaving crumbs of food since they often eat in the yard that was why ants kept coming back, I made it a point to keep the grounds clean. Always. But these tiny workers and soldiers alike just love to march along the ground. Puzzled, I asked our helper why such minute creatures never get tired of walking, traversing the ground the whole day, everyday.  I always get the same answer: since it is summer time, those ants are just "saving for rainy days," as the saying goes.

 fire ant workers
marching little red ants
So, are these ants good or bad in the garden? First, bad because of what I hated most about them. These tenacious little creatures called fire ants have vicious sting that is painful and can be dangerous enough to cause some allergic reactions or something close to that effect. Unknowingly, they would be creeping, crawling fast to my feet and up towards the extremities and bite then the next thing I knew I was stamping them away like crazy. Oh, how those burning, piercing stings itch afterwards!
 fire ant up close
Ants can loosen the soil in young plants, causing them to die. I've noticed that ants are always present when aphids thrive in plants. Spraying a mixture of water and detergent helps in getting rid of them both. Attacking my son's newborn hamsters was the worst thing they ever did. Like the carnivorous piranhas, fire ants devoured all nine baby hamsters in just a day. Horrible!

baby hamsters
So much for the gory part. On the positive side, these little social insects can improve air circulation in the soil, improving water drainage with their burrows. In short stories, ants are always perceived to be hardworking, helpful and industrious creatures. Aside from being such, they seem to be brave soldiers, ready to defend their queen and their kingdom come hell or high waters. Anything that causes disturbance in their turf means war. 


The Sage Butterfly said...

I am not a huge fan of ants either, but I know they have their role in nature. Great post!

hardinars said...

Yes, Sage Butterfly...quite interesting how nature works in its own little way...thank you!

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